Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Feet & hands

Mom has been feeling ok in general, other than some days are more tiring than others. Her feet are giving her the most problems right now and are red and peeling. She keeps the faith on the ice packs and puts them on her feet every day for a few minutes at a time, but they still get red. If she is on her feet a lot they will start to burn. Her hands haven't been too bad, but she keeps them well-conditioned with the lotion. And she puts the lotion on her feet several times a day too.

Her next appointment with Dr. Porubin is on June 15. He is going to evaluate her blood work and then also look at her feet and hands. At the last appointment he was pretty sure he was going to take her off of the Doxil and put her on the Taxol/Carbo mix again (which she received the first time she started chemo back in 2009). Mom had great results with that chemo and I believe that her cancer count went drastically down. I think her lowest number was 18 but I will have to go back and check my notes.

Unfortunately, the Taxol/Carbo mix is very toxic, and she will lose her hair and also have more nausea/bone pain symptoms. This means that she will have to do the dosing of steroids and anti-nausea before she starts chemo, and then do Benedryl during chemo, followed by more anti-nausea after chemo. I at least hope that Dr. Porubcin will reduce her Lovenox dose down to once a day. Mom's belly is very tender and sore from all of those shots.

We had fun last weekend and went to Aunt Carol's 70th Birthday party at the Ottawa Lions Club. There were a ton of people there, and many were old classmate's of mom's and Aunt Carol's. I overate on BBQ pulled pork, cake, chips and M & M's (they ordered some special black and white ones for the occasion) and the pièce de résistance: CAKE POPS by Jane. They were decorated in all sorts of fun characters and I wish I would have taken more than one.

Alaina, Gayle and Jane did a great job with the party (I think Daryl moved a table) and it was nice to see everyone. Things like that really bring mom's spirit up. Ethan and his girlfriend Andrea and Scotty and his girlfriend Stephanie even came along and that make Grandma Barb very happy. Before we knew it, 7 p.m. rolled around and it was time to head back to Geneseo.

The video below was from Aunt Carol's party. Mom, Aunt Carol and Aunt Rosemary were standing there while everyone took their picture, so I decided to take a video of them standing there while they were getting their photo taken.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chemo day

Mom met with Dr. Porubcin this morning before starting the round of Doxil. He said that overall he liked her blood counts, however the CA125 count went back up instead of going down (from 731 to 790). While this isn't a significant jump, he was expecting to see a little more progress.

He also didn't like the way her feet looked; red and peeling with some cracks. The are worse than the last round and he is apprehensive about continuing mom on the Doxil unless he sees some better results in the next month. She will continue to use the lanolin cream (Udderly Smooth) as long as needed - that is the best thing to use. And she has plenty of Udderly Smooth for awhile - thanks everyone for the tubes!

Mom is scheduled for a scan and blood work on June 3, and Dr. Porubcin will make a decision when he sees her on June 13 as to whether or not he will continue her on the Doxil or try something else. He mentioned the possibility of going back to the Taxol/Carboplatin mix (which is the combination that mom was on the first time she started chemo in 2009) so we may be back to square one.

The good news is we know how effective Taxol & Carbo is at killing the cancer cells. Mom had great results with that and her counts went down and stayed down for about 6 months. The not-so-good part is that she will lose her hair again and have a couple of down days each month because of the side effects. It's particularly potent and as much as they try to curb the nausea it still happens.

Thanks everyone for all of the continuing prayers, emails, notes, etc. She gets a lot of cards which she enjoys very much. She has great neighbors in Geneseo and the nurses at the Trinity Cancer Care Center are the best. She's a tough girl and will go the rounds.

We'll be taking a trip to Ottawa IL in a couple of weeks and she is looking forward to that... and there may be a trip to Arizona in the future as well. We haven't been there since A. Ruth and U. Bernie moved years ago. She's got some plans and she's not going to let cancer throw a wrench in them just yet.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

Next Tuesday is mom's next chemo session. Compared to the previous session, she is feeling overall better than the last time. Her feet are the big issue - red, sore, peeling... and just all around uncomfortable. I don't know if the nurses in the Chemo Room at Trinity will have any more remedies to share but we'll ask. The cream seems to help somewhat, along with ice packs. 

Her hair is thinning out but not like she expected. I anticipated the possibility of shaving her head again, but even with some hair loss her curls still look nice. 

This Sunday is Mother's Day - and quite frankly haven't gotten around to planning anything but at the very least we'll have a nice luncheon or grill out at the house. The fact that it's Mother's Day and she is still here and keeps on hanging in there is enough to celebrate. I'm hoping that the CA125 count next week will give us some positive results that the Doxil is doing it's job! 

Happy Mother's Day!